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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Latitude Festival 2010: Sunday Evening Quidams Review

A review of a magical Sunday evening spent watching Quidams perform at, and around, The Waterfront Stage.

Written by Sophie Parker and Daniel Sims

02 People In The Hole

Amelia’s Magazine took a trip to see the Royal Collage of Art’s SHOW TWO at Kensington Gore…

The RCA’s MA Innovative Design Engineering – a double masters with Imperial College, purchase London – is described as a course which encourages (and it succeeds) students to produce original work of “world-changing impact.” It is not surprising therefore, that the majority have turned their thoughts towards Climate Change and the ever looming post oil world, looking at the role design can play to encourage the world’s vast population to change their lifestyle habits.

First up is Matthew Laws’ Climate Machine, used to demonstrate our (individual) daily impact on the environment. The design is brilliant in it’s simplicity (simplicity to use, as Matthew talked me through the decision and engineering process it was decidedly complicated). The concept is that the user can gage their carbon footprint through the reaction of the mirrors and the light bulbs to their personal energy use. I.e if you use a car every day the light bulbs (representing a 40W bulb left on all the time) brighten in accordance to how much produced, and the mirror darkens. The more energy efficient you are the dimmer the light bulbs and the clearer the mirror.

On the back a screen displays in figures the users carbon footprint. What is brilliant about this design is that it reflects changes in your lifestyle, for instance if you were a heavy car user, if you switch to an electric car or a bicycle your carbon footprint decreases and the light bulbs dim.

Rich Gilbert produced the Embodied Energy Audit, displaying how much energy is required to make phones, clothes and everyday components that we don’t even consider cutting other aspects of our carbon emissions.

Jorge Manes graduated from the Design Products MA, described by the handbook as “an activity that fundamentally shapes our world and influences processes of change..” Usually focuses on product and furniture design, however the course does not impose limitations on it’s design students – therefore producing those such as Manes who exploration of how factories development can be examined through modern social and environmental reasons.

Manes work was incredibly fascinating, looking at the gradual industrialisation of production methods whilst looking at those who have maintained traditional craftsman skills.

It is refreshing to see Design Students focus their attention on the problems our consumer lifestyles are causing the planet, something British and World goverments have and are failing to deal with. In light of the recent report named Britain as the “Dirty Man Of Europe”, it was great to see MA design students providing innovative ways to tackle this problem.

Adam Paterson (Innovation Design Engineering) examines our global Marketplace and our current approach to transporting products from Market Place to Consumer. How can design help these journeys to become more efficient?

Maximo Riadigos (Innovation Design Engineering) ingenious Biodegrade, acts as an alternative and preventative to household food waste ending up as part of our overflowing landfills. The proposal of the design is to transform that which is currently perceived as waste into useful gardening products.

The Design Interaction MA focuses “on the interactions between people and technology… Concerned with the social, cultural and ethical consequences of living within an increasingly technologically mediated society,” produced Oliver Goodhall’s

Nucleaur is Good! Through Oliver’s version of a corporate training video, complete with team leader to guide the new recruits through the pro’s, cons’ and slightly irrational solutions (but highly public friendly) to the problem ‘going nuclear’ proposes.

Guided nuclear tour from Oliver Goodhall on Vimeo.

Damien Palin’s kindly took the time to explain the principles behind A Radical Means. To use the accompanying press release, the work is explores how “a radical departure from current means of human production is needed and possible through the study and mimesis of nature.”

A prototype created through Damien’s “microbally induced casting procedure.”

Palin’s technique works at biological temperatures (which are many many times lower than current industrial processes) producing objects that have been bound by using “the bacteria Sporosarcina pasteurii as a method for cementing natural granular materials using minerals as a binding agent.” Thank you for the explanation Damien!

Images showing the procedure in it’s current form….

Finally Aymeric Alandry’s Garden Tile – Experiment one proposes we “redefine our own trade in order to repair what 200 years of industrial revoloution are currently destroying 3.5 billion years of species evolution.” I cant think of a finer way to end this post with, not a truer word said. Lets hope these students of today are able to change the world tomorrow!

Stop back tomorrow for Amelia’s Magazine Show Two Post Part Two looking at the other ways in which design can impact the world….

Part two of the RCA show continues until 4th July 2010. It’s open from 11-8 daily at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU. Admission is free.

Images Courtesy of the Students and addition photographs by Sally Mumby-Croft

Quidams at Latitude Festival 2010
All photography by Sophie Parker and Daniel Sims

After what had been a magical weekend we decided to spend our final night of Latitude simply drifting through the festival. With no agenda we found ourselves sitting atop the large books outside the Literary Stage- donuts in one hand and chocolate dip held precariously in the other. Happily munching away with Vampire Weekend echoing in the background, visit it seemed a perfect end to the weekend.

Quidams at Latitude Festival 2010
With the masses up at the Obelisk Arena, erectile the crowds had thinned out to the point where the festival began to resemble its Mean Fiddler days. The dust from the day had finally settled and the sun was just a whisper of warmth in the evening air.

As we got up and turned to head for Cabaret Stage we caught sight of a peculiar glow of light. Bobbing and shimmying, it was surrounded by a small gathering of people. As the light dispersed, four towering bubble-like creatures flickered into view, their immense height and width contrasting with their feather-light appearance.

Quidams at Latitude 2010. Illustration by Sophie Parker and Daniel Sims
Quidams by Sophie Parker and Daniel Sims

Whilst Latitude is notorious for having all kinds of ephemeral creatures wandering through the festival both day and night, there was definitely something more surreal about these serene giants. Gently they tip-toed on stilts away from the bright lights of the festival into the secret darkness of the trees and, along with a growing crowd of enchanted people of all ages, we followed them Pied Piper-like into the darkness.

Unknown to us at the time it was in fact Quidams- a French street theatre company known for, amongst other things, inflatable self illuminating costumes and characters reminiscent of Tim Burton (before Disney devoured him, obviously). At the time, however, who they were and where they had come from didn’t seem important. It was far more exciting to simply engage with the moment.

Quidams at Latitude Festival 2010
Clumsy yet graceful, with only a wordless language of slow gestures and hypnotic light we were lead to the Waterfront stage. They shuffled tentatively onto the unlit platform and there was a simultaneous jaw-dropping as the four figures proceeded to creep silently (and unaided) across the submerged catwalk giving the appearance of walking on water.

What had been a small gathering was now a swarming crowd blocking the bridge and congregating on both sides of the lake. As if out of a Studio Ghibli film, we watched as the four illuminated characters arrived on the other side of the bank and surrounded a covered luminous globe. Performing a kind of magic to the strange and dramatic music, the orb began to rhythmically float and descend, each time getting a little higher. Finally it rose high above our heads shedding it’s gossamer-thin covering and blooming into a huge and glowing full-moon.

Quidams at Latitude Festival 2010
As the four characters deflated and drifted off into the night, the moon signaled the perfect end to an unbelievable weekend.

It was definitely not the biggest act, but for the brief time it lasted, the festival site was transformed into a Moomin-esque world caught somewhere between fiction and reality. Quite simply, it was Latitude at its best.

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